Staff Picks | Spring 2020

19 Mar 2020

April Staff Picks

The Scottish Gallery staff would like to share with you, on a monthly basis, a selection of our favourite pictures and objects that are in The Gallery's collection but are not always on display. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Kirsty Sumerling chose: Lizzie Farey’s Larch Bowl

With Spring finally in full swing, Lizzie Farey’s beautifully crafted larch bowl speaks of birdsong, spring flowers and longer days.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Larch Bowl, 2018, larch & willow, H15cm x W30cm

Elizabeth Jane Campbell chose: Mark Hearld’s Fauna

I love how Mark Hearld has captured a snapshot of a woodland scene cleverly depicting birds in flight, a pair of hares, a pair of foxes, a stag… and spot the pheasant. A fine way to bring the outdoors indoors!

Christina Jansen chose: Owen Jones’ Oak Swill

For April, I’ve chosen Owen Jones Oak Swill. I do the laundry in my household and this is what I use to transfer washing to the pulley – nothing like a beautiful useful object to make a household chore more enjoyable.

“Oak swill baskets are traditional to the southern Lake District and they have been made in this area for centuries. Their origins are unclear but it is likely that they evolved as a cottage industry which then expanded post the industrial/ agricultural revolution into a trade in its own right. Swills were used for coaling steam ships, in mines, mills, ironworks and many other industries. On farms they were used for broadcast sowing, harvesting root crops and for feeding animals. Their domestic uses included; laundry, log, garden and shopping baskets, even cradles. The swill making industry declined rapidly in the post war years which mirrored the rise in mechanisation and other technologies such as plastics.

Swills were part of a large coppice wood industry in the predominately oak woods of the Furness fells. The coppice woodsmen would deliver oak and hazel to the mainly workshop based swill makers or ‘Swillers’. The rim or ‘bool’ of the basket is a hazel rod which has been steamed for 20 minutes and then bent into the characteristic oval shape.
The butt end of 4” – 6” oak trunks are sawn to various lengths, cleft into lengthwise billets using a froe or ‘lat-axe’ and then boiled in a large metal trough for several hours. Once softened, the oak billets are taken out one at a time and riven or torn into thin strips (see picture to the left), the shorter ribs or ‘spelks’ left thicker (1/8”) and the longer weavers or ‘taws’ are riven finer (1/16”). The spelks are dressed (smoothed and shaped) on a mare with a draw knife and the taws are dressed over the knee using a hand knife. The swill is then woven, taking about 4/5 hours in total.” Owen Jones

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Mark Hearld, Fauna, linocut; edition of 65, H42cm x W60cm
Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Owen Jones, 2008, hazel and oak, H42 x D61 cms, photography by Roland Paschhoff courtesy of the Design Crafts Council of Ireland

Ruth Leslie chose: Heather McDermott’s Medium Washer Earrings

I am a big fan of Heather’s work as it is fun, modern and unique but also incredibly easy to wear. I have these earrings in a lime green – they are comfortable and yet always get noticed! A great way to bring a bit of colour into daily life, which I feel we all could do with at this time...

Lisa Muxworthy chose: Charles Simpsons’ Cup of Carnations

Spring is the theme and this charming oil painting by Charles fully fits. Happy and uplifting!

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Heather McDermott, Medium Washer Earrings, 2019, steel and paint, D:3cm
Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Charles Simpson, Cup of Carnations, oil on canvas board, H15cm x W15 cm

Tommy Zyw chooses: Anne Redpath's Flower in a Jug

This bold still life by Anne Redpath was made in the last few years of her life. It displays the qualities in her art for which she is best known: a strong use of colour and bold handling of paint.

Alison McGill chooses: Matthew Draper's Sunrise (Part III) Kitchen Window Series No. 19

This beautiful pastel drawing is from Draper's series of work from his kitchen window in 2016. He captures the early morning with the sun breaking through with effortless skill.

Many people will be able to relate to taking in the view from their windows while we stay indoors and this pastel drawing certainly brings some calm to the unsettling situation we all find ourselves in.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Staff Picks | Spring 2020

March Staff Picks

The Scottish Gallery staff would like to share with you, on a monthly basis, a selection of our favourite pictures and objects that are in The Gallery's collection but are not always on display. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Lisa Muxworthy chose: Bronwen Sleigh's Nile Avenue

Every time I see Bronwen Sleigh’s prints I am mesmerised. Her work explores space rather than describing it, challenging perceptions of the ordinary by presenting it in an unfamiliar way.

Ruth Leslie chose Koichi Io's Whirl Vase

I love the simplicity of Koichi Io’s work. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can be hardest to achieve, in their perfection. Koichi uses traditional techniques such as hand raising and chasing, resulting in fluid, exquisitely crafted works with a modern aesthetic. Koichi Io was a finalist of the 2019 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Bronwen Sleigh, Nile Avenue, 2017, hand coloured etching, H:32cm W:32cm ​
Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Koichi Io, Whirl Vase, 2016, Patinated copper, hammer raised, H:15.5cm W:14cm D:14cm

Kirsty Sumerling chose Bodil Manz’s Høganæs

Bodil Manz is a master of eggshell porcelain and in Høganæs she has captured a translucency whereby the outer and inner surface decoration merge to create an integrated whole, subject to light and shadow.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Bodil Manz, Høganæs, 2018, porcelain cylinder no 3, H:12cm D:14cm

Elizabeth Jane Campbell chose Julie Blyfield's Lapel Pins

Spring is in the air so it feels like the perfect time to start wearing some florals - and this includes floral jewellery!

These lapel pins by Julie Blyfield are perfect miniature blossoms, inspired by the botanical landscape in Australia and beautifully crafted in silver and gold. Blyfield's work has always amazed and inspired me - her use of traditional metalworking techniques and skilful patination creates stunning, unique and wearable jewellery and silversmithing.

Chantal de Prez chose John Byrne's Girl with Monkey

Girl with Monkey demonstrates Byrne's incredible skill as a draughtsman, as well as his predilection for the surreal. The piece is signed 'Patrick', the pseudonym he went by in the late sixties and early seventies. The rich palette, the landscape's forced perspective and the rendering of the bird, monkey and clouds makes me wonder if Byrne had recently been looking at Japanese woodblock prints...

Look our for our March exhibition Dear John, which presents twelve beautiful portraits of Byrne taken by photographer David Eustace throughout their thirty year friendship.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Julie Blyfield, Lapel Pins, 2019, precious white and yellow metal, H:2-3cm W:2-3cm
Staff Picks | Spring 2020
John Byrne, Girl with Monkey, coloured etching, H:35cm W:25cm

Christina Jansen chose Susan Cross' Shima Series - Brooch I

Susan Cross has been exhibiting her beautiful jewellery with the gallery since the 1980’s. She has recently been working with pearls for the first time and this brooch is one of them. Susan’s work is inspired by textiles, in particular Korean braids and textiles and her oxidised silver brooch combines fine metal weaving and seed pearls. It is exquisite to look at, tactile and a successful work of art when worn. Susan Cross teaches jewellery at Edinburgh College of Art.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Susan Cross, Shima Series - Brooch I, 2019, oxidised silver, freshwater pearls, H:7.5cm W:7.5cm

Tommy Zyw chose Bruce McLean's Untitled

An underrated master of contemporary print making, McLean’s expressive screenprints are stylish and bold in equal measure.

Laura Cooper chose Heather McDermott's Short Diamond Fankle Necklace

Heather McDermott lives and works in Aird in the Isle of Skye, and takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape and ever-changing shoreline. I love the way Short Diamond Fankle Necklace combines graphic forms with delicate lines to create something both eye-catching and wearable.

Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Bruce McLean, Untitled, 1986, screenprint, H:86cm W:66.5cm
Staff Picks | Spring 2020
Heather McDermott, Short Diamond Fankle Necklace, 2019, stainless steel, W:5.5cm L:47cm
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